8 Reasons Your Site Has Crashed

24 May 2021

Uh-oh, looks like your website has broken down. And when your site crashes, every second costs you. But what causes pages to go kaput? Though the triggers are virtually endless, there are a few usual suspects that tend to be responsible more often than not. Here are the top eight culprits behind most online disruptions.

1. Your website is hosted by a cheap server

Budget servers may save you some cash in the short term, but the long term risks often cost you tenfold. So if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When it comes to software, you get what you pay for, and cutting corners will likely deliver substandard results across the board. For instance, cheap servers leave your website susceptible to infiltration from viruses and cyber-attacks which can compromise your entire brand. They are more prone to crashing, especially in the event of high traffic. You can also expect frequent power outages, hardware errors and poor database connections. While it may not be necessary to splurge on a pricey premium package, make sure to choose a quality server that you can trust.

2. You’ve pressed ‘Update Now’ on the main WordPress software

Performing manual website updates can bolster your site’s safety, accessibility and functionality. But if you’re not skilled enough, you can easily run into trouble. In the case of WordPress, which hosts over 75 million sites worldwide, a lot of further testing may be required before publishing updates live. And if the WordPress update is not synchronous with the website content, prepare for meltdown. Exercise caution before hitting ‘Update Now’. There is no rollback mechanism in WordPress, which means data could be lost forever without a backup.

3. You installed a corrupted plugin

WordPress is home to thousands of plugins that add depth and variety to websites – 54,000 to be precise. Though it may be tempting to download every plugin under the sun, don’t get too trigger happy. When it comes to plugins, less is more. This is largely because plugins are unregulated to an extent, and can be created by anybody. This means they vary in quality and, more importantly, security. For more on this, check out our blog on How Many WordPress Plugins Are Too Many.

Before downloading a WordPress plugin, evaluate the following:

  • Is it produced by trusted developers?
  • Does it have good reviews?
  • Has it been updated recently?
  • Is it compatible with my site?

By doing some thorough checks first, you may avoid costly downtime later.

4. You’re working with a third party on your website

Getting external help to build and maintain your website can be really beneficial. Just make sure that if you do hire someone, they know their stuff. If an amateur gets their hands on your site, they could make high-risk changes that jeopardise the safety and integrity of your website. Try and keep the number of people who have access to the backend at a minimum.  

5. You’re relying solely on auto updates

Automations are awesome. They save time and effort so you can channel your energy into more valuable endeavours. But there is a time and a place for automation, and it certainly is not without its limitations. For example, the WordPress core, plugins, and theme are developed independently and software updates are scheduled at unpredictable times. So, while an update may improve one aspect of your site, it could also lead to incompatibility in the other areas, potentially resulting in crashes.

6. Your website code is old and depreciated

Great websites are well-maintained websites. Make sure to practice good housekeeping to ensure everything is fresh and up-to-date. We recommend scheduling regular maintenance checks with experienced developers (every six months or so) to diagnose any problems and mitigate any threats.  

7. Your password has been hacked

Password-hacking malwares are always lurking around the web. They obtain sensitive information based on clues or old passwords exposed by data breaches. These viruses can do serious damage to your site should they get hold of it, so make sure to change your passwords regularly using a unique mix of letters, numbers and special characters. And to learn more about how to keep your site safe from cyber-attacks, check out this blog.

8. Your website’s PHP is out of date

An updated website PHP provides protection from common vulnerabilities. If this is out of date, a notification will appear on your WordPress dashboard. Do not ignore this.  PHP 7.2 (reached end of life on November 30, 2020), PHP 7.1 (reached end of life on December 31, 2019), and PHP 7.0 (reached end of life on December 3, 2018) are all obsolete and need revising as soon as possible.

When your site crashes, you’re missing out on potential traffic, leads and conversions. If this is a frequent occurrence, it’s time to be proactive and start investigating. Check your site for the errors we’ve listed above and make it a priority to rectify them. And if you need help with your digital health check, reach out to the experts at Elephant in the Boardroom. Our skilled and experienced team of developers knows how to build powerful and secure websites that won’t let you down. Visit us today at www.elephantintheboardroom.com.au today and let’s talk.